Jose Mourinho has spoken with delight about the mentality and experience possessed by new signing Alexis Sanchez, ahead of Manchester United’s trip to face Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
During Friday’s pre-match press conference, Mourinho was asked which of Alexis’s myriad qualities he particularly liked and he quickly responded:
“His mentality. I like to have in my team a player that loses the ball in minute 91 and doesn't stop until he recovers that ball – even if he is so tired like he was in the last minute of the last match [against Huddersfield].
“A crucial moment in football is when your team loses the ball and you become exposed and open for the opponent to hurt you. So when you have players in the team with that mentality of, 'I made a mistake or I lost the ball and I am going to recover it for my team', that is very important. The combination of Alexis's experience, talent and mentality makes a player that I like.”
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“You can see the way Alexis was 'welcomed' by the opponents,”reflected his manager.
“He's a tough boy, he's a pure guy, he's a guy that copes with that. He coped at Yeovil in difficult conditions too with some bad tackles, and against Huddersfield.”
“Alexis has a few years and a level of experience in the Champions League that my [other] attacking players don't have. He's played in the Champions League for clubs that were feeling the responsibility to play to win it, when he was at Barcelona.
“As for my other boys, I think Lukaku is in his first season in the Champions League, Marcus Rashford I think the same or maybe he played a couple of matches with Mr Van Gaal. Anthony [Martial] had one season with Monaco and a couple of matches here too - the same about [Jesse] Lingard. [Juan] Mata obviously has more experience and is a Champions League winner. But we don't have many players with that know-how in the Champions League and Alexis, as part of his talent as a player, knows what the Champions League is and that is important because in the Champions League, when you go to the knockout stages, it’s for players that know how to compete at that level.“